Gareth McAuley presents award to Foundation coach
DEAN Burton, a member of the Albion Foundation’s Education and Engagement Team was announced on Tuesday as West Bromwich Albion’s Premier League Kicks Hero.
Club defender Gareth McAuley was on hand to present Dean with his Premier League Kicks Hero comic strip, as part of the Premier League’s 10-year celebration of the programme.
Premier League Kicks is a youth outreach programme with the aim to create safer, stronger and more respectful communities through the development of young peoples’ potential, whilst giving young people access to facilities, coaching and mentoring.
Dean joined the Albion Foundation on a voluntary placement through the Premier League Kicks programme seven years ago, and after completing an apprenticeship, he continued working at Kicks sessions on a voluntary basis. His hard work and dedication were recognised when the Albion Foundation offered him a full-time sessional coach role and after increasing his hours and delivery, Dean was awarded the position of Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Foundation’s Education and Engagement team, recruiting local young people to get involved in West Brom’s community activity.
Dean’s story has been immortalised in the comic strip illustration designed by Marvel and DC Comics artist John McCrea.
“The staff at the Foundation have given me so much support and encouraged my development. I can’t thank them enough," said Dean.
"To be named as the club’s Premier League Kicks Hero is amazing; it’s crazy to think that this time seven years ago, I was only just starting my journey with the Albion Foundation and now I work full-time on our education and engagement provision.
If I can inspire local kids to follow the same path I have, I’ve done my job.”
And McAuley was full of praise for Dean and his achievements.
“Dean thoroughly deserves to be West Bromwich Albion’s Kicks Hero.
"He has worked tirelessly on Kicks and other Albion Foundation programmes to encourage young people in the local community to get involved and stay involved with the club.
Having trodden the path himself, he’s a great advocate of the work we do and the way it’s delivered. When young people can see an outcome like Dean’s, they can’t help but be inspired.”